President Donald Trump and French President Emmanuel Macron said on Monday that a broader approach is needed to curb Iran’s influence in the region.
Macron’s visit to the White House comes less than three weeks ahead of the expiration of a deadline set by President Trump for a solution to be found to the Iran nuclear deal.
The 2015 agreement, officially called the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, reached between Iran and the United States, Russia, China, France, UK, and Germany, was intended to prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons, but in effect guarantees it can develop such a weapon by 2026.
In that year certain key limitations on Iran’s nuclear program are dropped, allowing the regime at that time to install thousands of advanced uranium centrifuges, which expert estimate would allow it to develop a nuclear weapon within six months.
Another major weakness in the agreement is the fact that Iran’s development of advanced missile technology is not covered under the agreement, but instead under a separate U.N. resolution. This means that Iran’s continued development of ballistic missile technology has no bearing on whether it is compliant with the nuclear deal.
Speaking at the White House on Tuesday, President Trump described the deal as “a terrible deal” that “should never ever been made.”
France’s Macron, whose country has been an ardent supporter of the 2015 deal, said that a broader approach to Iran’s activities in the region is needed.
“The Iran deal is an important issue but we have to take a far broader picture which is security in the overall region.” He added: “What we want to do is to contain Iran and its presence in the region,” Macron said at the White House.
President Trump agreed with Macron’s assessment.
“It just seems that no matter where you go, especially in the Middle East, Iran is behind it, wherever there’s trouble, Yemen, Syria, no matter where you have it, Iran is behind it. And now, unfortunately, Russia is getting more and more involved. But Iran seems behind everything where there’s a problem. And we just have to take a look,” Trump said.
In January, Trump said he would sign the last 3-month certification for the Iran deal.
Ahead of the expiration of the 3-month period on May 12, concerns have arisen that Iran could restart its nuclear weapons program.
“It won’t be so easy for them to restart it. They’re not going to be restarting anything. If they restart it, they’re going to have big problems, bigger than they ever had before,” Trump said.